Friday, May 30, 2008

One of Life's Little Dramas

Why is it that medical emergencies always seem to happen at the most inopportune times? At 6:30 pm, the night before we were supposed to get on a 9 am flight to visit my parents in New York, I came home from work and noticed what I had assumed was a bug bite on Angel's face now had a swollen red ring around it that Angel admitted was tender to the touch.

Concerned about a possible infection, I called the pediatrician's on-call number and spoke to the after-hours nurse who suggested we go to an Urgent Care facility to have it checked out since we were flying out of town the next morning. The nurse had heard that some doctors in New York refused to see out of town patients.

By the time Angel was out of her bath and re-dressed to go out, it was just after 7 pm. We got to the Urgent Care facility by our house at 7:10, but it was too late. They were just flipping over the "Closed" sign as we walked up. I tried frantically knocking, desperate to avoid the emergency room, but whoever had flipped the sign quickly and cleverly hid in the back and pretended to not hear us. Cursing under my breath, I trudged Angel back to the car and announced we'd have to go to the emergency room at our local Children's Hospital, which fortunately wasn't too far away.

Angel was immediately freaked out by the prospect of going to a hospital, "Will I have to get surgery?" she gasped. I assured her she wouldn't, that we just needed to see a doctor.

Thankfully it was a slow night at the Children's Hospital and we only waited a few minutes before being processed and put into a room. The nurse practitioner that saw us and the doctor she brought in to consult both agreed that the bite had been there long enough for this to look like the beginnings of infection. They talked to us about some scary sounding thing called MRSA, a penicillin-resistant type of staph infection, which was not what they thought Angel had, but were concerned that if we didn't treat it, she could develop. They recommended treating her with an antibiotic.

"Can she swallow a capsule? Because the liquid form of this drug is horrible tasting."

We weren't sure if Angel could swallow a capsule -- we'd never tried it before -- but we were willing to give it a shot. The nurse that returned with the prescription warned that if she couldn't swallow the capsule, we should try mixing the powder inside the capsule with chocolate syrup because it was pretty strong and bitter and the chocolate helped mask the taste. Angel thought that sounded like a good deal and was enthusiastic about the prospect.

It was 9 pm by the time I dropped Angel off at home and drove over to the pharmacy to pick up her prescription. As soon as I got home, I called Angel down to take the medicine. I could immediately tell this was not going to be a good time. She suspiciously eyed the capsule and expressed surprise that it was plastic.

"It'll choke me!" she cried. She had already made up her mind that she wouldn't be able to swallow it.

"I promise it won't choke you," I told her, but I was beginning to worry about how she would react to the feeling of the capsule going down her throat. Fortunately, we didn't get that far. She took the water into her mouth but couldn't bring herself to swallow it with the capsule. Water dribbled out the sides of her mouth and onto the floor.

We tried three times before she began to cry, at which point her father decided to step in. Usually Hubby has a good track record for coaching the kids through tough, emotional situations so I was more than happy to step back and let him handle it. He tried coaxing her to swallow the capsule in some pudding, but unbeknownst to them, the wet capsule had dissolved and some powder had leaked out into the pudding. Angel immediately tasted the strong, bitter medicine and started to gag. Now exhausted and utterly disgusted, she began to have a major meltdown,

"Dad! Oh my god! Oh my god!!! This is the worst day of my life! I just can't live anymore!!!" She screeched. Hubby tried very hard to keep a straight face and not laugh at her dramatic proclamation. Also exhausted and overwhelmed at this point, I was halfway between laughing with him and becoming hysterical with her.

We made one last attempt to get the medicine in her by doing what the nurse had suggested -- mixing the powder in Hersheys syrup. But it was too much for Angel. She tasted the bitter powder once again and immediately threw it up. After we cleaned her up, we finally gave in and called it a night. I put some Neosporin on the bite, put her to bed and resolved to call the doctor to get a different prescription in the morning.

By the time the drama was over, it was 10 pm -- time to first start packing for our trip so we could be ready to leave at 6:45 am for our flight. As I tried to muster the few remaining brain cells I had left to think about what to pack, I couldn't help but think that if I hadn't been working, I would have avoided this late night drama by noticing the swelling sooner and bringing her to her regular pediatrician during the day. I could have been packed and ready to go by now.

Who was it that said, "Don't sweat the small stuff?" What I want to know is, what exactly is the small stuff?

1 comment:

julie said...

If you ask me, there are days when small stuff does not exist.